'National humiliation' as Theresa May blames MPs for Brexit delay

Written by Tom Freeman on 21 March 2019 in News

Theresa May heads to Brussels to ask for an extension to Article 50 just a week before the UK is set to leave the EU

Theresa May at Downing Street - PA

A poll has found 90 per cent of Britons find the Brexit situation a "national humiliation" as Theresa May heads to Brussels to seek an extension to the date the UK is supposed to leave the European Union.

The SkyData poll found nine in ten people in the UK think the way the UK is dealing with Brexit is a "national humiliation", with over a third blaming the UK Government.

This is despite the Prime Minister giving a speech last night insisting she was on the side of the voters, heaping blame on MPs for not voting for her deal.

In the polling for Sky News, 26 per cent blame MPs for the impasse, seven per cent blame the EU and 24 per cent blame all of them equally.

May has spent years negotiating a deal based on her own priorities for Brexit, but it has been twice rejected in the Commons by huge majorities.

In a speech outside Downing Street she said Westminster was doing "everything possible to avoid making a choice" on Brexit.

Rejecting calls from opposition parties for a second referendum, May said she remained "determined" to win parliamentary backing for the deal in a third attempt at a meaningful vote, expected next week.

"In March 2017 I triggered the Article 50 process for the UK to exit the EU and Parliament supported it overwhelmingly. Two years on, MPs have been unable to agree a way to implement the UK's withdrawal. As a result, we will now not leave on time with a deal on 29 March," she said.

Directly addressing the public, she declared: "You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side."

The speech triggered a furious backlash from MPs.

Former minister Sam Gyimah described her remarks as "toxic". Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry comparing the Prime Minister to US President Donald Trump, while fellow Labour MP Lisa nandy said: “Yesterday her government attacked their civil servants. Now she’s attacking the MPs whose votes she needs. It will have cost her support.”

Another Labour MP told Holyrood's sister site PoliticsHome: "I thought her speech was a disgrace and a licence for every right-wing scumbag in the country to go after MPs. Unlike me, she’s never had to say to a bloke installing a panic button in the house 'needs to be a bit higher mate so the kids can’t reach it'."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - who walked out of cross-party talks on Wednesday night over the inclusion of Independent Group spokesperson Chuka Umunna - renewed his call for a "consensus".

He said: "Theresa May's botched deal has been overwhelming rejected twice by parliament. It should not be brought back for a third time of asking.

"Her government is in chaos, and she is arrogantly trying to bully Parliament to vote for the same bad deal."

Corbyn is expected to hold his own Brussels talks today with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, EU Commission boss Martin Selmayr and a string of other European leaders.

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